Battleme

How does the story start and where will it end? Re-birth and re-discovery have been common themes to describe the inside psyche of Matt Drenik’s Battleme. 3 years ago Drenik was the lead singer of Austin, TX based psyche rock band, Lions. They had just released their first record in the UK and were touring with a reunited Monster Magnet. Then he got sick. And fought. And now his solo project, Battleme, is finding its audience. It all began with a haunting cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My” for FX’s Sons of Anarchy. A week after its digital release, Drenik’s Battleme found itself in the Itunes Top 20 charts. A few months later, he cut a record with Ghostland Observatory’s Thomas Turner and the single “Touch” premiered on MTV Buzzworthy. The Atlantic, RCRD LBL, and MTV Hive quickly featured the track and the Washington Post claimed it as being “a career maker.” Within a few months of the record’s release, Drenik had formed a fledging new live band in Portland, OR. First it was a KEXP in studio session, then an appearance at Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party. A west coast tour followed with an appearance at LA’s Lobster Fest. The album track “Shoot the Noise” was picked to soundtrack the upcoming EA Sports NHL 13 video game. And Battleme’s first headlining Portland date was recently previewed by the Willamette Weekly as, “…a continuous string of battles and triumphs. And they’re pretty damn good.” This is only the beginning.

Growing up in the Cincinnati suburbs with two older brothers, Matt Drenik was always influenced by his environment. One brother was in a noise band, the other with a keen taking towards New Wave. “You had the Jesus Lizard in one room and The The in the other. I was just a kid. I didn’t understand the difference between the two.” While he didn’t understand the differences, these would be key stepping stones in his evolution.

Battleme really began in 2009 on accident when Drenik was diagnosed with uvetis, an auto immune disease that affects the eyes of which there is no known cause or cure. At the time of his diagnosis, Matt was coming off of four years recording and touring with Lions who exploded noise and energy – touring nationally and internationally with the likes of the Toadies, Local H, and Monster Magnet. Fans gravitated towards their raucous live shows as spectacles of Drenik’s heavy state of mind.

After he got sick, things began to change. “It was time to go somewhere else.” He dove back in to the things he grew up on. The Stones, Flaming Lips, Beck, Townes Van Zandt went running through the walls and Drenik wrote. He turned his thoughts to songwriting. He asked himself questions

like, “what would Bob Pollard do?” This was where he gave in to a re-birth. “I wanted something different. And I didn’t have anyone telling me what rules I had to go by.”

Wanting a change, Drenik moved to Portland, OR in the summer of 2010. He spent the next several months recording over 40 songs in his girlfriend’s basement, bending from one genre to the next. He eventually narrowed them down to an 11 song record. After burning a few CDs for friends, Thomas Turner from Ghostland Observatory got a copy and responded. Drenik thought Turner might offer him a show with Ghostland. Instead, Turner asked to produce the record and put it out on his print, Trashy Moped Recordings.

For months, the two lived and breathed the songs. They sent mixes back and forth, collaborating on every aspect of the sound. Drenik’s songs took on new forms – powerful hooks, bottom heavy grooves, and ethereal textures blended effortlessly with drifting, falsetto vocals to create an adventurous mix of post-modern rock and soul that would come to define the record. Synthesizers generate “Touch.” A solitary guitar builds into a wall on “Trouble.” The cosmic call to kill the quiet in “Wire” gives way to the sweet satisfaction of a “Killer High.” Genres coalesce, dividing lines disappear, and Battleme allows the sounds to create their own field of vision. A view from the other side. Songs with no boundaries.

And now Battleme, residing in Portland, OR is figuring out just what to do.

The Bixby Knolls

"The hardest working bands are the ones who write songs with meaning and play those tunes by kicking people's faces in," Joe Cardamone remarked to Sammy Fayed as they sat down to embark on a long flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok. This was the doctrine lived and breathed by singer/songwriter and LA native Curt Barlage who met Sammy a year before when he responded to a local 'drummer wanted' ad for Curt's new project "The Bixby Knolls." "There was an interesting energy in the bar before I even met Sam," Curt recalls, "…it felt like we knew what each other were about before we even started speaking to one another." There was a strong sense of understanding in the air between the singer and the drummer. Perhaps it was the frustration with the existing musical climate in LA or perhaps it was which records either of them were playing back in their minds that evening. They both felt that either one 'got it' and none of them had to do the routine and awkward 10-question inquisition game to check one another for being a 'faker'. The forming of a band, the musician's philosophy, the struggle against the 9 to 5 work schedule, creative pursuit, songwriting, great records, good watering holes with proper tunes, women, relationships, touring, the economy, and the dislike of the fleeting flash in the pan shit that perpetuated the streets of their local East LA circuit all ensued as topics of conversation over the wall of Silverlake noise groups on the bill that evening. In the span of a 5-minute chat the two had formed a unique bond over these shared ideals and 'The Bixby Knolls" were born.

After some odd months and changing faces in the line up, Curt and long time friend (8 years to be exact) Cesar Saez De Nanclares of Mexico City, found themselves in a late night tequila and cerveza sinking session discussing their frustrations with the music business. Having shared the stage with early incarnations of the bixby knolls in his own outfit (the wallburds), Cesar decided to take his chances on a musical voyage while sitting in a Mexican holding cell at the border (for reasons not stated). Cesar made a phone call in the morning to Curt ready to join the brethren of The Bixby Knolls. Shortly thereafter Curt found himself on the prowl for a final member at a premier venue in Silverlake, fascinated by the energetic and floor stomping live performance of 20 year old Christian Morales on bass. The two chatted over some pints and immediately established a brotherhood. After 6 months of unsuccessful musical prospects, in the midst of turmoil, pressures with school, and frequent battles with heartbreak, Christian declared his engagement to the knolls. Hence, the final perfected line up was born.

A few weeks later Sammy found himself on a 13-hour commercial flight to Bangkok where he sat next to Joe Cardamone, the self established madman and leader behind the punk outfit 'The Icarus Line'. Cardamone and Sammy chatted about the lack of energy in the music scene in LA and over what seemed like 8 courses of food and no sleep. As the flight began it's descent the two agreed to 'be in touch' while sharing some humorous remarks questioning how each of them had ended up en route to a third world country on the brink of civil war.

Packets of cigarettes later and having survived a stint in the baking hot jungles of Thailand Cardamone and Fayed returned to LA with an agreement to work on a record together. Joe had recently formed a small label with local muse Annie Hardy from Giant Drag and had begun his new venture of producing bands he liked locally. In late 2010 The Knolls found themselves recording their first album at the Sound Factory in Hollywood with Producer Joe Cardamone, head Engineer Greg Gordon (who has worked with the likes of Oasis, Supergrass, The Dandy Warhols, Jet and many more), and Mark Chaleki as mastering engineer.

The Bixby Knolls' sound shows each of the members' deep influence of classic records. In sharp contrast to the plaid and American-Apparel wearing sea of 'brohemia,' the Bixby Knolls share a vision and identity comparable to a band of musical brothers. Roxy Music, 'baggy' Kasabian, The Libertines, the Stone Roses, The Mondays, Arthur Lee and Love, Primal Scream, The Clash, The Modern Lovers, The Cramps, The Stones, Joy Division and Supergrass are heard throughout their record's sonic landscape while Barlage's voice emotes the affected themes of heartbreak and struggle heard in classic R&B and soul from the sixties such as The Zombies, Four Tops, and Nolan Porter. "Our record reminds us of Bobby Gillespie and Joe Strummer in a fist fight," Barlage puts bluntly when asked directly.

Frustrated and sick of their jobs, school, heartache, and the pains of modern society, the beating heart of the knolls is a deafening thump ready to bleed through the veins of the masses with the same anxieties, fears, and frustrations that come to all modern humans near and undear.

The Ten Thousand

"These co-op shows attract 500+ attendees, rivaling the Echo or the Troubadour in size -- and, I'd dare say, often exceed their intensity. For proof, here's the first The Ten Thousand video, filmed partly at one of these shows: City of Angles Music Video"
-LA Weekly

"Some random guy on the internet has proclaimed The Ten Thousand’s music as reminding him, 'of when anything other than wild was not an option.'...The damn catchy harmonies remind us of a more punk Vampire Weekend mixed with some Neil Young Americana. Wild is seriously right."
-The Owl Mag

"These boys have a style all their own and cleverness with introductions on this specific track. Recognition is no longer an option with these boys, it’s a necessity."
- Music Under Fire

"Sie kommen aus los angeles, sie spielen retro-futuristischen punk-rock, sperrig, ungehobelt, unverschämt eingängig."
-Oh! Fancy

Residual Kid is comprised of musicians Ben Redman (drums), Deven Ivy (guitar) and Max Redman (bass), who have a penchant for face-melting alternative rock!

The Austin music scene is rife with musicians some of whom have been playing music for most of their lives as well as eager amateurs, all trying to rise above the fray and obtain some recognition for their art, scratch out a living, while trying to avoid the dreaded velvet coffin. The members of Residual Kid have been playing music for most of their lives and thrust themselves into this scene a few years ago, aspiring to play music that reflects their diverse influences, while bringing something new and fresh to music fans in Austin and beyond.

Every band experiences the highs and lows of the music business, and Residual Kid haven’t been immune to either. Years of gigging around town in any club they could get a show while fine tuning their original material, the band began to reap the rewards of their hard work in 2011. A fresh set of songs on their debut EP, television appearances, bigger shows with cool Austin bands, and media attention began to feel the rewards of hard work and dedication. Then...everything changed. The departure of the band’s primary singer and contributing songwriter at the peak, caused a pause in the Winter of 2011.

After some serious consideration, the three original members Ben, Deven, and Max decided to regroup, refocus, and redefine the sound of Residual Kid. Just a few months out of the scene, the band returned to the stage with new material and a new sound, much to the approval of their old fans and gaining new fans rapidly. The band’s sound reflects that music that has proven inspirational in their lives, raw, punk-inspired, sonic, and at times complex in structure. Heading into 2013. Residual Kid have completed a great year filled with awesome shows, a Fun Fun Fun Fest appearance, and a bunch of great new friends. Look for the band at this year's SXSW and on the road during summer 2013..hopefully coming to a town near you!

Ben Redman, Max Redman and Deven Ivy are destined to play music for the rest of their lives..and if that doesn’t work out, there’s always skateboarding.

$10.00

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Anyone dressed up in Dia De Los Muerto garb & make-up will receive free copies of The Bixby Knolls album!

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Battleme with The Bixby Knolls, The Ten Thousand, Residual Kid

Friday, November 1 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Bootleg Bar